Olu Swim Week
- Resortwear edit
Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) presented Olu Swim Week with a special focus on Luxury Resortwear on 12 November at Shangri-La Colombo and 13 November at Colombo Port City.
This year’s show was once again the fashion event of the year, highlighted by all the extravagances brought by the sponsors and CFW Founder Ajai Vir Singh.
Eight designers were able to have their collection walk the ramp, with some even showcasing for the first time in CFW history. Let’s take a look at this year’s designers.
Aslam Hussein by Aslam Hussein
Aslam Hussein traces his roots to when he joined the family fashion business at the young age of 15, after which he worked his way up the career ladder and gained an insightful knowledge in pattern-making, cutting, tailoring, and design.
Aslam’s signature style, which was highlighted in this year’s collection, is creating high fashion looks that add visual drama through his unique ability to turn simple fabric into stunning couture creations.
Simple but elegant is the only way to describe the collection that was showcased; putting together bold patterns, fresh materials, and elegant, embroidered florals inspired by the beauty of our paradise island, from the tranquil blue waters to the dense and tropical rainforests. This collection of quiet luxury entails exciting new silhouettes to give an old staple new life.
The collection is entirely comfortable and utterly stylish, and is what will be experienced in luxury resortwear.
La Pard by Dinushi Pamunuwa
La Pard is a luxury batik clothing brand specialising in lingerie, nightwear, eveningwear, and resortwear. The brand infuses the batik craft into contemporary designs in order to bring luxurious clothing to consumers.
When speaking to Pamunuwa on her inspiration behind this year’s collection, she expressed that the batik surface designs for the collection “For Her” is inspired by the strength in women that makes them strong, to push boundaries and encounter unprecedented situations.
“The monotonous and repetitive plaids and checks are brought to life with batiks celebrating the uniqueness of the craft and each woman. Adding soft delicate silhouettes, we communicate the feminine touch of every woman no matter what experience they have endured,” she explained.
Pamunuwa also added that they wish to encourage everyone to appreciate and admire the women in your life and to inspire all women to be beautiful in their newest ethical, handmade batik craft collection, which is made by a team that is a majority of females.
Karma Collection by Tivon Prasad and Seema Moceri
Founded in Galle in 2017 by Tivon Prasad and Seema Moceri, Karma Collections has expanded to include retail stores in Galle, Unawatuna, and Colombo. Never ones to sit still, they launched a successful overseas online distribution network during the global pandemic, shipping thousands of Karma Collection pieces around the world.
During a chat with Tivon, we learnt that he has been in the fashion industry since he was 13, and has been involved with developing some of the most successful retail fashion and lifestyle brands in Galle. Seema, too, is an accomplished interior designer and splits her time between London and Sri Lanka.
Everything they do involves an explosion of colour and print, and their collection at CFW was proof of that; it was easily one of the best collections shown. Taking inspiration from the vibrancy and culture of Sri Lanka, they have carved a unique niche in the fashion industry, ensuring that all of their customers, regardless of size and heritage, feel special and confident in their pieces.
Their story continues to evolve after they made their debut in CFW21 and the two plan to expand their brand to become a well-known name among fashionistas throughout Sri Lanka as well as the rest of the world.
CHARINI by Charini Suriyage
Inspired by her love for experimenting with combinations of the traditional and modern, Charini Suriyage has made a mark for herself in the ethical fashion arena.
Combining her Sri Lankan heritage with modern design, her designer wear brand was first launched at CFW in 2009 and has continuously participated at London Fashion Week and other international fashion shows and retails in both Europe and Sri Lanka.
Her collection showcased the beauty of the city of Jaffna and vibes of its unique culture, the majestic presence of the Jaffna Fort built out of beautifully derailed corral walls and the breathtaking views of the golden sandy beaches surrounded by the palmyrah trees are all encapsulated in this collection. Focusing on fun, dramatic silhouettes in vibrant colours made out of handcrafted prints batik fabrics, this collection by CHARINI celebrated luxury and true responsible fashion.
Hameedia by Fouzul Hameed
Menswear fashion consultant Fouzul Hameed has carved out a niche for himself in the fashion industry by focusing on how men should dress. Fouzul has over 30 years of experience and is recognised as Sri Lanka’s menswear specialist. His impeccable collections are tailored to the needs of contemporary, fashion-conscious urban men who seek unmatched total clothing solutions with an eye for detail and an appreciation for the essence of fashion to achieve a vibrant look.
This season’s inspiration comes from the elements of nature’s resources. The collection is created with natural fabrics and colours in mind, with an emphasis on sustainability. “We use tea waste that has been converted into natural fabric dyes for the fashion industry, which is a more environmentally friendly alternative,” Fouzul stated, adding that these dyes have been infused into natural cotton or linen fabric to create an eco-sustainable product that can be proudly embraced.
A variety of dip-dye had been used to upcycle clothing, where it was combined with various cultural elements in Sri Lanka to give, in Fouzul’s words, “the real men an extraordinary look”.
INDI by Indi Yapa Abeywardena
The desire to travel and resume social connections, along with positivity towards the environment we live in and it’s community, is where Indi Yapa Abeywardena derived her inspiration for the collection from. As all of us have been through extremely tough times, we are now ready now to get the party started – to travel the world and finally have that magical wedding that was put off by the pandemic.
“The joy and romance is the feeling the collection tries to depict. We have chosen florals again for the resort, with three-dimensional embroideries and prints of wild flowers and birds,” she shared with us.
The collection has also adopted dramatic drapes, luxurious textures and exaggerated trains and have seriously updated their classic silhouettes by playing with colours. Romantic flowing dresses and their transformative properties addressing the new bride who wants more than one look for her beautiful destination wedding is what this collection was all about.
Buddhi Batiks by Darshi Keerthisena
Buddhi Batiks CEO and Creative Director Darshi Keerthisena is a leading proponent of the batik craft in Sri Lanka. Darshi’s collection was noted for infusing contemporary fashion into the traditional Sri Lankan batik craft and for elevating batik as a designer fashion brand.
When asked how her collection is sourced, Keerthisena explained that the batik is made at a workshop that supports and hires exclusively from the village of Koswadiya, where the batik craft is practised by women, some of whom have been with the workshop since the company’s inception in 1970 and whom Keerthisena considers the life blood of her business.
This year’s collection was a song of pastel-coloured slips and intricate prints – one that could be worn to a casual outfit, and is yet elegant enough to be pulled off at an evening gala.
DIVYA93 by Divya Jayawickrama
Divya Jayawickrama is a fashion designer who graduated in 2019 from the University College of Ratmalana. With her longtime ambition, she started her fashion design journey with improving product development experiences. Her graduation collection was awarded for the “Best Men’s Wear of the Year” during the graduation fashion show.
Radical pattern and textile development, bold and fresh manipulations, and constant and meticulous research go hand in hand with her ambition to create something new and modern. Jayawickrama told us that she hopes to introduce new choices to every customer. She believes “a dress can make powerful transformations”.
For synthetic solutions, she has used zero-waste, reversible, and convertible methods to her designs. By developing handwork on her designs, she plans to uplift the line of the women in Sri Lanka.
For this year’s collection, she drew inspiration from the desert: Everyone stuck in one place for long months. “We need to go out and relax, but there is still a ‘stay at home’ warning. Sri Lanka is surrounded by sea. ‘My Secret Beach’ suggests finding beautiful beaches and considering traveling alone,” she shared.
Her work is also influenced and inspired by Moroccan culture. Having a sense of architecture, peoples, animal, and nature behaviours, she has created pattern, silhouette, and colour development converting from Moroccan tribal into modern tribal patterns.
“Using my iconic block printing method, I have developed my collection to bring it into a luxurious fashion collection,” she commented.